Monday, August 19, 2019

Give me Jesus.

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19: 29).

Tuesday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 - 1153),Abbot and Doctor of the Church. Apostle Peter on behalf of the Apostles and ourselves asked Jesus: “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” (Matthew 19: 27).

St Bernard was a French Cistercian monk who is well known in the history of the the Church. Among peers, he was a towering giant. He was immensely learned, holy, cultivated, gentle, a great teacher and a highly effective preacher. St Bernard gave the world the MEMORARE Prayer. (Remember O Most Blessed Virgin Mary...).
Should you ask St Bernard: You have given up everything to follow Jesus, what is there for you? St Bernard would have answered like another great teacher and Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas: Give me Jesus and that will be enough.

Jesus is the Top Prize. He is the great Reward! Give me Jesus.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, August 18, 2019

He went away sad.

"Jesus said to him [the rich man] “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19: 21).

Monday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time. The rich young man turns down the opportunity to become a disciple of Jesus.

Some people are born poor.
Others become poor by their own mistakes.
Some people have poverty thrust upon them.

The vocation to follow Jesus implies embracing poverty of one degree or another.  Some people are committed to radical poverty like Franciscans. The Apostles and immediate disciples of Jesus were called to this type of poverty. Those who enter consecrated life take vow of poverty. They depend on the providence of God to provide all their necessities. God rewards them with deep peace and God Himself becomes their security in everything.

Jesus loves the rich man and invited him to join this intimate circle. "When the young man heard this statement, [about giving up his wealth] he went away sad, for he had many possessions." (Matthew 19: 22).

Do you own your money or does your money own you?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, August 17, 2019

My message will be contentious.

"In those days, the princes said to the king:
“Jeremiah ought to be put to death:
he is demoralizing the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such things to them; he is not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin.” (Jeremiah 38: 4).

Sunday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time has a message of strife, contention and extreme courage in following Jesus.

The people got King Zedekiah to condemn Jeremiah to death for doing his work as a prophet. In the Gospel, Jesus proclaims how He came to set the earth on fire. "From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.” (Luke 12: 52 - 53).

The 2nd Reading from Hebrews 12: 1-4 confirms the message of Christ on the nature of the Enterprise He has given his life for. A great crowd of witnesses has already paid the price with their life: John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and all the Apostles, Stephen, Lawrence, Cecilia, Agatha, Thomas More, Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King Jr, etc. These are the heroes of our faith. All these witnesses belong to the Communion of the Saints, the holy ones who day and night are interceding for us before the Throne of grace and mercy and urging us to persevere in running the race that lies before us.

Brethren, this saying is trustworthy:
“Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Corinthians 2: 9).

The reward for faithfulness and perseverance will be extraordinary.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, August 16, 2019

Let the children come to Me.

“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19: 14).

Saturday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. Have you ever been annoyed by unrestrained and noisy children during Mass?  I discovered something curious and very beautiful about this annoyance recently. Little children love the house of God in a natural way. At first, I thought that little children might mistake the Sanctuary for a super market like Walmart. A little reflection convinced me that this is not the case. They know something, they see something that we distracted adults don't know and see. After the noon Mass at the Cathedral today, I saw a young child suddenly detach himself from the gripping hold of the mother and ran to the side altar. I caught his eyes and winked at him. I have learned to leave them alone.

"Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

HOW GOD OVERCOMES EVIL 😈

272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe". (Catechism of the Catholic Church 272).
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Thursday, August 15, 2019

It was not your sword or your bow.


"It was not your sword or your bow." (Joshua 24: 12).

Friday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. The first presidential address of Joshua to the people of Israel is the subject of the first Reading in today's Liturgy. It is sobering. Joshua went down memory lane to the very beginning of the nation: The choice and the call of Abraham. At the conclusion of his address, God speaking through Joshua to the people said:

"I gave you a land you did not till and cities you did not build, to dwell in; you ate of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant." (Joshua 24: 13).

The point of the talk is to warn the people against hubris. The Responsorial Psalm instructs us of the attitude of praise and thanksgiving we need before God:

"Give thanks to the God of gods.
Great is his love, love without end.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
Great is his love, love without end.
Through the desert his people he led.

"Great is his love, love without end.
Nations in their greatness he struck. Great is his love, love without end.
Kings in their splendour he slew.
Great is his love, love without end.
He let Israel inherit their land."
Great is his love, love without end. (Psalm 136: 1- 3, 16 - 18, 21 - 22).

It was not our sword or our bow that built the nation but God's gracious ordaining. Give thanks to the Lord.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mary was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

"Almighty, ever-living God,
who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son,
body and soul into heavenly glory,
grant, we pray, that, always attentive to the things that are above, we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

Thursday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. What is the Assumption?
"The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians." (CCC 966).

The Collect of the Mass of the Solemnity of the Assumption expresses the constant and ancient faith of the Church.
"Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi." As the Church prays, so does she believe. So does she live. Teaches this ancient dictum. St Augustine, a theological genius expresses so succinctly: I believe because the Church taught me to believe. I believe based on the credible authority of the Church. Yes indeed. No Church, no confirmation of our faith.

Mary who bore Christ in her womb was raised body and soul in glory to be with Him in heaven. This is the ancient and constant faith of the Church.

"All generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me." (Luke 1: 48 - 49).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Who is St Maximilian Kolbe?

"Greater love has no one
than to lay down his life for his friends, says the Lord." (Cf John 15: 13).

Wednesday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Maximilian Kolbe (1894 - 1941), Franciscan Priest and Martyr. St Maximilian exhibited a greater love for his co-prisoner, picked by lot to be executed by the Nazis at Auschwitz. The condemned man broke down and wept bitterly. "My wife and children."  Maximilian who was a priest and unmarried asked the Gestapo to spare the man and take him. The Gestapo found the bargain to their liking since they hated priests more than Jews. They executed St Maximilian Kolbe.

"Greater love has no one
than to lay down his life for his friends, says the Lord." (Cf John 15: 13). The love and example of Jesus compels us to imitate Him. "Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me." (John 12: 26). St Maximilian Kolbe is enjoying his well deserved reward in heaven and is honored today throughout the world in the anniversary of his martyrdom.

St Maximilian Kolbe pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Lord Himself goes before you in this Journey.

"It is the Lord who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.”
(Deuteronomy 31: 8).

Tuesday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. Who goes before you in the Journey of life? Whom do you depend on as your provider and  leader?

When Moses was handing over the leadership baton to Joshua, he assured the people that God Himself remains the real Leader. Therefore they should not be afraid. God will never fail them.

God gives names to their leaders and ministering angels which contains His sacred name "EL" to remind them of His promise to be with them and provide for them.

El = God

Isra-El: God contends/fights.
Gabri-El: God’s strength” or “Power of God”.
Rapha-El: “God heals”.
Micha-El: Who is like God?
Emmanu-El: God with us.
Ishma-El: God hears.

If God is with you, the Journey is accomplished.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, August 11, 2019

3 dire predictions of the Passion of Christ which noone remembered.

"As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,  and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief." (Matthew 17: 22 - 23).

Monday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. The subtext of the word we have picked for today reads "The Second Prediction of the Passion."

How can we begin to understand the fact that Jesus predicted His Passion in such graphic terms three times and non of His disciples was prepared for it or even seemed to remember? It seems impossible to be true.

Be that as it may, how about ourselves? The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is taught and preached with vigor. We know that the Second Coming is the sub theme of Advent. Right?

Now what will be our defense if Jesus Christ comes tomorrow? Are we ready? How will our defense attorney plead for us?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Rejoice in hope.

"Stay awake and stand ready,
because you do not know the hour
when the Son of Man is coming." (Matthew 24: 42, 44).

Sunday of the 19th week in Ordinary Time. Today's message could be personal. Are you waiting for something to happen? An answer to prayer for example. How do you know when God will deliver the answer? The Church answers the question thus:

"In prayer the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes...... In communion with their Master, the disciples' prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation." (CCC 2612).

When you keep watch in prayer, you will know the appointed time, the fullness of time. When you do not keep watch in prayer, you will fall into temptation and see your bus speed by while you are not paying attention. In the 1st Reading, we are told:

"The night of the Passover was known before hand to our forefathers." (Wisdom 18: 6). If you keep watch in prayer, God will be pleased to give you the privilege of knowing that the appointed time has come.

Live in hope. Rejoice in hope. God Never Fails!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, August 09, 2019

The Feast of St Lawrence the Deacon.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." (John 12: 24).

Saturday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time is the Feast of St Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. (+Circa 258). St Lawrence was a prominent Roman Deacon who braved roasting by red hot fire to defend the Church and her greatest wealth: the Poor. In this, Lawrence became like Jesus, the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies. As a result of the death of Jesus, life sprang up everywhere.

"Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it." (Luke 17: 33).

St Lawrence sowed bountifully and the Lord rewarded him and made him the Doyen of Deacons.
"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." (2 Corinthians 9: 6).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, August 08, 2019

When you remember the wonderful things God has done for you.

"I remember the deeds of the Lord." (Psalm 77: 12).

Friday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Teresa of the  Cross (1891 - 1942). Teresa was born Edith Stein of Jewish parents and converted to the Church. A well established philosopher in the universities in Germany, she was sent to Auschwitz by the Nazis and died in the gas chambers.

What one thing can make you grow in faith, hope and love? "I remember the deeds of the Lord." (Psalm 77: 12). Forgetfulness of what God has done for you is about the greatest harm you can inflict on yourself.
This truth and insight comes to us from the Responsorial Psalm in today's Liturgy:

"I remember the deeds of the Lord, I remember your wonders of old, I muse on all your works and ponder your mighty deeds." (Psalm 77: 12 - 16).

It is a well known axiom that what God has done once, He can always do again. The Israelites in the Desert forgot again and again that it the same God who split the Red Sea in two for them is the same God leading them on their Journey. The same God who fed them with manna feed 7000 people with bread and fish with much leftovers.

"Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts, Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills, Who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with mercy and compassion, Who fills your days with good things, so your youth is renewed like the eagles." (Psalm 103: 2 - 5).

Psalm 103: 2 - 5 is the greatest advice you can receive from God's holy word. It is not a coincidence that this Psalm is used most in Responsorial Psalms. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you remember and give thanks.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Get behind me, you Satan!

"He [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16: 23).

Thursday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Dominic (1170 - 1221), Priest and Founder of the Order of Preachers, the Dominican Order.

What do you make of the sharp rebuke of Jesus to Peter? Peter opposed the truth that Jesus must suffer and die. Christ's reaction implies that this truth is fundamental and of the highest priority in the hierarchy of truth. Nobody should mess up with this fundamental proposition. Not even Peter.

After His Resurrection, Jesus laid down 4 principles of apostolic witness:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

Deprecation of any of these truths by heresies must not be tolerated in the Church.

"May Saint Dominic come to the help of your Church by his merits and teaching, O Lord, and may he, who was an outstanding preacher of your truth, be a devoted intercessor on our behalf.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Collect on the Feast of St Dominic).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Faith welcomes unusual challenges to our welfare.

"We felt like mere grasshoppers." (Numbers 13: 33).

Wednesday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time. Have you ever felt like a grasshopper before a giant problem? Think of unanimous verdict of a team of medical expert that your case is simply hopeless. Or condemned to life sentence with no option of appeal by the highest court of the land. Or your only family home with all that you own is washed into the sea by the last hurricane and you have no insurance.

Faith welcomes any of the above scenario with a smile. A student who is prepared for an examination is impatient to see the test begin. One who is not prepared will pray for all the imaginable causes of delay.
In today's Scriptures, we see from the 1st Reading in Numbers 13, a story of No Faith. The men sent to survey the land flowing with milk and honey disparaged the territory. In the Gospel narrative in Matthew 15, we hear Jesus commend a foreign woman for a strong faith:

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” (Matthew 15: 28). And the result of strong faith: "And her daughter was healed from that hour."

David must have looked like grasshopper before Goliath. But who won the day? We do not and we can never vanquish the world with arms of flesh. Our faith will overcome this world anytime. We do not walk by sight or feeling but always by faith.

The God of Jesus Christ who is always with us never fails!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, August 05, 2019

What is the Transfiguration?

"In a resplendent cloud the Holy Spirit appeared.
The Father’s voice was heard: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him." (Cf Matthew 17: 5).

Tuesday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus. What is the Transfiguration and why does it matter?

"On a high mountain, before three witnesses chosen by himself: Peter, John and James. Jesus' face and clothes become dazzling with light, and Moses and Elijah appear, speaking "of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem". A cloud covers him and a voice from heaven says: "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" (CCC 554).

The Transfiguration matters because before the presence of three credible witnesses, the glory of Jesus was revealed. These three witnesses Peter, James and John were to become witnesses to the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. They were to bear witness to these eye witness events with their lives m. Our faith as Christians is built on solid foundation and not on "cleverly deviced myths." (2 Peter 1: 16 - 19).

"This is my Son, the Beloved: he enjoys my favor. Listen to him." (Matthew 17: 5).

Thank You Father. I listened to Your Son and heard beautiful words. (Matthew 6: 33).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, August 04, 2019

You have given us O Lord Bread from Heaven.

"Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds." (Matthew 14: 19).

Monday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time. Our Scripture pick for today reminds us immediately of Eucharistic narrative where at the Last Supper:
Jesus Takes, Blesses, Breaks, Gives the Bread of life.

Is this sequence of action accident or purposeful? The Church has interpreted the Feeding of the Crowd as type and shadow of the Eucharist which is the defining institution of the Kingdom to come. Note that it must have been this same sequence of actions that opened the eyes of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus to recognize Jesus. (See Luke 24).

But what do we learn about the Eucharist from the feeding of the crowd? "They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over—twelve wicker baskets full." (Matthew 14: 20).
You shall eat and be satisfied.

Nothing prefigures the Eucharist as closely as this Scripture from Isaiah:
"All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat; Come, buy grain without money, wine and milk without cost! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?" (Isaiah 55: 1 - 2).

The Eucharist is the rich food and rich wine prefigured in Isaiah 55.

"You have given us, O Lord, bread from heaven, endowed with all delights and sweetness in every taste." (Wisdom 16: 20).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, August 03, 2019

I will tear down my barns and build larger ones.

“Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!” (Luke 12: 19).

Sunday of the 18th week in Ordinary Time. The Scriptures invite us in the words of the 2nd Reading from Colossians 3 to seek what is above where Christ is. In the 1st Reading from Ecclesiastes, we hear that all things are vanity. God indeed has created man for Himself and made his heart restless until it rests in God Himself.

"How happy are the poor in spirit:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 3).

In today's Gospel, Jesus instructs us with the parable of the Rich Fool. When the Fool discovers that his business has succeeded beyond his wildest expectations, his instinct is not to donate to the local charities. "I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods." Many Church Fathers commenting on this parable see the consequences of unbridled materialism.

The Scriptures teach that "Man does not live on bread alone" and points to the impossibity of a man trying to drag a camel through the tiny gate of the city. Fool! This very night your soul will be demanded of you.

The Eucharist kills the temptation to greed and materialism.
"I am the bread of life, says the Lord; whoever comes to me will not hunger and whoever believes in me will not thirst." (John 6: 35).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, August 02, 2019

Herod beheaded John.

[Herod] had John beheaded in the prison." (Matthew 14: 10).

Saturday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time. John the Baptist becomes the first casualty of the ministry of Jesus Christ.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 28). The disciples of Jesus might have thought of this as a hyperbole. Now it has happened. What may follow?

"The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” Jesus said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” (Luke 9: 22).

By the time this happened, the faith and the resolve of the disciples had been shaken to its foundation. The "Promise of the Father" would come to the rescue in the person of the Holy Spirit to instill life into the disciples. By the time Herod laid hands on James, Bishop of Jerusalem and one of the first disciples, the new Church was ready for mission.

"Happy those who are persecuted
in the cause of right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 10).
Lord, grant us the grace to accept all the persecutions You send to us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

8-3

[Herod] had John beheaded in the prison." (Matthew 14: 10).

Saturday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time. John the Baptist becomes the first casualty of the ministry of Jesus Christ.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 28). The disciples of Jesus might have thought of this as a hyperbole. Now it has happened. What may follow?

"The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” Jesus said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” (Luke 9: 22).

By the time this happened, the faith and the resolve of the disciples had been shaken to its foundation. The "Promise of the Father" would come to the rescue in the person of the Holy Spirit to instill life into the disciples. By the time Herod laid hands on James, Bishop of Jerusalem and one of the first disciples, the new Church was ready for mission.

"Happy those who are persecuted
in the cause of right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 10).
Lord, grant us the grace to accept all the persecutions You send to us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Where did the carpenter's son get this education?

"Is he not the carpenter’s son?" (Matthew 13: 55).

Friday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time is First Friday in August. The famous home boy comes home for a weekend. Instead of a rousing welcome, He was subjected to indignities. “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?  Is he not the carpenter’s son?" If you are familiar with the Gospels, you will recognize that this is the fate of Jesus from birth to death. He was born humble and was despised by even the masses.

But we know better. We know that “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day." (Luke 24: 46). We understand the implication of the  necessity of the suffering and humiliation of Jesus the Messiah. We too must suffer and endure humiliations.
What is your reaction? Follow Jesus? Or run?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday August 2.

August 02, 2019 First Friday in August.

Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 8th month of the year, we look at Promise #8.

#8.  "Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection."

Who are the fervent souls?
The fervent are souls who hear the word of God and keep it. They place the Kingdom of God and holiness of life above every other thing.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday, August 2nd.
For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Feast of St Alphonsus Liguori, a tireless apostle of the Eucharist.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.  When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away." (Matthew 13: 47 - 48).

Thursday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Alphonsus Liguori (1696 to 1787), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Started life as a prominent lawyer before he became a priest. He was distinguished for the following reasons: Founder of the Redemptorist Order. "He was given the title of Doctor of the Church for his writings on Moral Theology. A tireless apostle of the Eucharist and of our Blessed Mother, he worked with great zeal for the poor and sick." (Roman Missal). 

The Church is the seed of the Kingdom of God. (CCC) The Church looks like the collection of fish of every kind. The Church of the living God, the Seed of the Kingdom of God on earth will retain the characteristics of the kingdom of David, a type and shadow of the Kingdom of God on earth. King David himself is the sinner-in-chief. St Peter, Head of the Apostles is also a sinner-in-chief. Sorry Martin Luther, John Calvin and company. There was no Apostasy. At no time was the Church a perfect institution. Everything has happened and is happening according to the design and foreknowledge of God.

At the end of the world "The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth." (Matthew 13: 49 - 50). This is the plan. So far everything is going according to plan because God is Almighty, Sovereign and in Control.

"Open our heart, O Lord, to accept the words of your Son." (Acts 16: 14).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Feast of St Ignatius Loyola

"The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it." (Matthew 13: 45 - 46).

Wednesday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Ignatius Loyola (1491 - 1556) Priest and Founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The word to live by today appears written for St Ignatius Loyola. A brash and ambitious young man looking for a world to conquer. Search and you shall find, says the Lord. What Ignatius found was a Pearl of Great Price. To purchase this Pearl, Ignatius must sell All he has to buy this Pearl.

This Pearl that demands All Ignatius has is Jesus. Ignatius was willing to pay the price. The Lord embraced him and made him great amongst men. Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus, a religious order that is relevant in the battle for souls and development of the world, making first class contributions in the field of science, art, culture and social studies all over the world.

What did St Ignatius Loyola bequeath the Church of the living God?
#1 Spiritual Exercises
#2 Methods of examination of conscience
#3 Methodology of Education

This prayer of St Ignatius Loyola shows the inner principles that drive him:

"Lord Jesus, grant that I may know Your heart intimately, love You passionately and follow You everywhere." Amen.

Needless to say, it pleased the Lord Jesus to grant St Ignatius Loyola this prayer.
St Ignatius Loyola pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, July 29, 2019

God is gracious and merciful?

"So the Lord passed before him and proclaimed: The Lord, the Lord, a God gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love and fidelity, continuing his love for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin." (Exodus 34: 6 - 7).

Tuesday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Chrysologus (406 - 450), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Who is Peter Chrysologus? "As Bishop of Ravenna, Italy, he was famous for his outstanding skill in preaching (thus the nickname Chrysologus, or "the golden worded"), for his charities, and for his writings." (Roman Missal).

In our key Scripture for today, we see the self revelation of God as:
"gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love and fidelity, continuing his love for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin." Is this how you see God? In case we imagine that this is an isolated trait of God's character, this is typical trait of God and continues in the Responsorial Psalm:

"The Lord is compassion and love,
slow to anger and rich in mercy.
His wrath will come to an end; he will not be angry for ever.

"He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.
For as the heavens are high above the earth so strong is his love for those who fear him." (Cf Psalm 103: 6 - 13).

We have above the true character of God. He is also just. Both our first Reading from Exodus 34 and the Gospel reading from Matthew 13 did not forget that God is  just:

The Lord does not declare the "guilty guiltless" (Exodus 34: 7).

"The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers." (Matthew 13: 41).

"The word of the Lord remains for ever:
What is this word?
It is the Good News that has been brought to you." (1 Peter 1: 25).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Feast of St Martha, Queen of Hospitality.

"Jesus entered a village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home." (Cf. Luke 10: 38).

Monday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Martha. Martha, the hospitality Queen. Martha's Vineyard, the home of good food appreciated by Jesus. Along with St Mary Magdalene whose feast we celebrated last Monday and St Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose feast was Friday, July 26th, we have three great women of the Bible and of salvation history. The Bible  teaches that the Church is "the pillar and foundation of truth." The Church of the living God is strong and robust through the ages because of the testimony of women like Martha, Mary Magdalene, Anne, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Therese of the Child Jesus, Teresa of Kolkata, etc.

Jesus honored Martha by coming to her house as a guest. Do you realize that Jesus wants to honor you today by coming to your heart in Holy Communion?

"Martha said to Jesus:
You are the Christ, the Son of God,
who is coming into this world." (John 11: 27). Great act of faith!

Do you believe this? Faith in Jesus as God is eternal life here and now.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Ask for the Holy Spirit and keep asking for Him.

"If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11: 13).

Sunday of the 17th week in Ordinary Time. Luke gives us Jesus' delightful teaching on prayer. Let us recap the main points:

#1 Each day, ask the Father for what to eat.
#2 Always remember to ask for forgiveness for your sins. He who says I have no sin is a liar.
#3 The Father is committed to forgiving you all your sins. You must likewise forgive your neighbor.
#4 Pray with perseverance. Ask and keep asking.
#5 Believe me if I tell you this: The best thing to pray for is the Holy Spirit.

"Prayer is an indispensable condition for being able to obey God's commandments. "[We] ought always to pray and not lose heart." (CCC 2098). This is a teaching we can use.

"On the day I called, you answered me, O Lord.
I thank you, Lord, with all my heart:
you have heard the words of my mouth.
In the presence of the angels I will bless you. I will adore before your holy temple." (Psalm 138: 1 - 2)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, July 26, 2019

Where have the weeds come from?

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off." (Matthew 13: 24 - 25).

Saturday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time. The Lord Jesus proposes a parable of the weeds growing with the wheat. The night before He died, Jesus prayed that His disciples would remain one as the Father and Himself remains one. This was not to be because in every age, there arise people who judge the Church as compromised by apostasy. This parable and the Genealogy of Jesus Christ shout that God is not a fool. He knows what He is doing. No apostasy can stop His design for the world He created and loves dearly.

"The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’  He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’  He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them.  Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13: 27 - 30).

Summary: It is the plan of God that the weeds will live side by side with the wheat till the end of the world.

“Gather my loyal ones to me, those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psalm 50: 5).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of Mary and Grandparents of Jesus.

"Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20: 12).

Friday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what the Church says about Anne and Joachim:

"It was in the house of Joachim and Anne that the Virgin Mary received her training to be the Mother of God. Thus, devotion to Anne and Joachim is an extension of the affection Christians have always shown toward our Blessed Mother. We, too, owe a debt of gratitude to our parents for their help in our Christain formation." (Roman Missal).
Our 1st Reading today gives us a commandment with a promise:

"Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you."

Jesus obeyed Joseph and Mary:
"He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them." (Luke 2: 51).

"O Lord, God of our Fathers,
who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Collect, Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Feast of St James, Apostle.

"As he walked by the Sea of Galilee,
Jesus saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother
mending their nets and he called them." (Cf. Matthew 4: 18, 21).

Thursday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time, feast of St James, Apostle. James and John were sons of Zebedee. James was one of the Apostles with Peter and John who witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus on the Mountain and the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was condemned to death under King Agrippa I and beheaded in 42 AD.

James like the other Apostles held the treasure of God's calling and ministry in earthen vessels. When we look at the human weaknesses of the Apostles, we see how the enormous power of God can work even in us.

"I chose you from the world to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last, says the Lord." (Cf. John 15:16).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

I will test them to see if they will obey Me.

"Here in the wilderness the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron." (Exodus 16: 2).

Wednesday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time. Thank You O Lord for Your lesson to us today from Exodus 16. First, we learn that the Desert is the place for testing. God's intention in testing us is not to crush us. Rather, God is pruning us so that that we can produce more fruits.

"The Israelites said to them [Moses and Aaron], “If only we had died at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our kettles of meat and ate our fill of bread! But you have led us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of famine!” (Exodus 16: 3).

Notice the cause of the complaint: Food. God may choose to test us in any of the 7-War Zones: Health, Family, Finances, Job, Possessions, Future.

In response to their childish complaints, God says: : "I am going to rain down bread from heaven for you." (Exodus 16: 4).

Here too, God attached a little test to see if the people will obey Him.
"Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.  On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in, let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days." (Exodus 16: 4 - 5).

Do you recognize from above the principle of the Sabbath Rest? Not everyone in the camp obeyed this benevolent order.

When will our testing come? In what area? Our life as  Christians demands continually vigilant watch and prayer so that when and where and what area the test comes, we will be ready.

"In their heart they put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They even spoke against God. They said: ‘Is it possible for God to prepare a table in the desert?’" (Psalm 78: 18 - 19).

O that today, we would listen to the voice of our Good Shepherd.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, July 22, 2019

How you can become a brother, sister and mother of Jesus.

"For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12: 50).

Tuesday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bridget of Sweden (1303 - 1373). St Bridget, a mother of 8 children became a Franciscan tertiary after the death of her husband. She founded a religious order and dedicated her life in contemplation and wrote many ascetical and mystical works.

Our daily bible verse today fits the profile of St Bridget. Through study, prayer and contemplation, she discerned the will of God. She became the sister and mother of Jesus.

Many of us imagine that the will of God is burdensome. Like teenagers, we feel that the will of God constrains our liberty. I thought like this myself until I discovered the intent of God's will through His commandment: "You must keep holy the Lord's Day." I asked myself: 'Why does God give us this commandment?" To punish us? I had worked for decades. Never once did my boss say: "Take off Friday and enjoy yourself. You will receive full pay for the day." This is what Father God does in giving us the 4th Commandment. Every one of the 10 Commandments is to enhance our liberty and enjoyment of life. Satan deceived Adam and Eve about God's intent in asking them not to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden.

"The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eye." (Psalm 19: 8 - 9).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Who is St Mary Magdalene?

"Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”  Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her." (John 20: 17 - 18).

Monday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time is the Memorial of St Mary Magdalene. St Mary Magdalene is one of the powerful women of the Bible. How did Mary Magdalene earn her place in history?

#1 She knew Jesus personally, touched Him and heard Him.
#2 She provided for Jesus which means she probably cooked His food and washed His clothes and cleaned His sandals.
#3 Mary was one of the few close disciples of Jesus that witnessed the entire passion and death of Jesus from A to Z.
#4 Jesus rewarded her for her loving loyalty by granting her the privilege of being the first to see the Lord after His Resurrection and commissioned her to take the Good News to the Apostles.

My brethren, the love of Christ controlled and compelled the life of Mary Magdalene after this beautiful soul realized what Jesus did for her. (Cf 2 Corinthians 5: 14).
Mary Magdalene must have wondered how she came to love Jesus insanely and then tumbled upon the reason: Jesus the Christ first loved her. (Cf 1 John 4: 19).
Yes, it is true. Jesus first loved us. It the magnetic power of this love that drew us to Jesus. O Mary Magdalene help me to understand the love Jesus has for me.

The Sacred Scriptures proclaim triumphantly: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5: 17). Just as Mary of Magdala becomes a new creation with the embrace of Jesus, so you and I can become the same today.

St Mary Magdalene pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Martha, why are you so anxious and distracted?

"The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10: 41 - 42).

Sunday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time. The good news of Jesus today is a word for our time. Go for something that you can always keep.

Martha and Mary are sisters and live in the same house. Their differences in outlook gives Jesus a teaching opportunity to address a problem that harrasses our society today. Our lives are distracted by too many gadgets, information overload and mindless multitasking.

Jesus invites us:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

What if Jesus gives you every morning a list of what to do with the empowerment to accomplish everything on the list with time to spare? This gift can be easily yours if you pray with the Church:
"Help us to know what we should do and give us the courage to do it."
What if you say this prayer every morning?

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, July 19, 2019

My Servant shall not brawl or shout in the street.

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles." (Matthew 12: 18).

Saturday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. Isaiah tells us that our chosen Scripture verse applies to Jesus the Messiah. Jesus makes a tactical withdrawal from Galilee in order to avoid head on collision with the Pharisees who had decided that Jesus must die. Huge crowd followed Him. He healed all those who were sick. Isaiah affirms the healing ministry of Jesus the Messiah whose mission is to make man whole in body, mind and soul.

Our Responsorial Psalm for today coaches us on how to respond to such a God whose mercy endures forever.

"O give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love is everlasting!
"He remembered us in our distress.
His love is everlasting!
And he snatched us away from our foes. His love is everlasting!"

"He will not brawl or shout,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break the crushed reed, nor put out the smouldering wick." (Psalm 136: 11ff).

Although Jesus did not brawl or shout during His public ministry, nor did anyone hear His voice in the street, He was nevertheless tried as a public criminal and suffered the death reserved for the worst criminal. What does this tell us about the plan of our salvation?

Have you not understand that just as the Son of Man must suffer before His victory and triumph, so must we suffer and accept some suffering in our life.
Do you not remember all the miracles performed by Jesus to prove that He is truly God and all His miraculous interventions in our life.

Let us give thanks to God with a shout!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, July 18, 2019

I desire mercy.

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice." (Matthew 12: 7)

Friday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. The Lord desires mercy and not sacrifice. Jesus Christ is the face of mercy of God the Father.

Jesus appeared to St Maria Faustina, a simple Polish nun in 1931 and declared to her:
"I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy." On April 30th 2000, Maria Faustina was canonized a saint by Pope St John Paul II. John Paul fulfilled the desire of Jesus and proclaimed the Second Sunday in Easter the Solemnity of the Divine Mercy. From that day, Divine Mercy Sunday has been celebrated every 2nd Sunday in Easter.

What is Divine Mercy? Divine Mercy is the mystery of the heart of God who desires mercy for mankind more than any sacrifice or reparation. Jesus commissioned St Maria Faustina to produce the image of Divine Mercy, a sacred image of Himself showing two rays of lights, red and white emanating from His Heart. Jesus wanted these words written at the bottom of the ankle-length priestly robe He was wearing at the time:
JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU!

Today millions of people all over the world celebrate the Divine Mercy Devotions primarily through the Divine Mercy Rosary. The essence of this devotion can be summarized through the ABC OF MERCY:

A. Ask for Mercy.
B. Be Merciful.
C. Completely Trust Jesus for Mercy.

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice." (Matthew 12: 7).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Your yoke is tailor-made to fit you alone.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

Thursday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. The Church commemorates the life of the St Camillus de Lellis, mercenary soldier, homeless down and out, priest, founder of religious order and last but not the least a canonized Saint. It would seem as if the word of life for today was proclaimed solely for the benefit of St Camillus. In fact this word is for all of us.

How many people today find the yoke of marriage unbearable? Or their daily employment? Think about the burden of debt or financial insecurity? Will this century turn out to be the century with the highest suicide rate among the youth? Yet Christ Jesus proclaims in the short Gospel of today: 'Listen to me! O that you will listen to Me! I have a solution to your dilemma. The Good News is that what you call unbearable yoke and burden are tailor-made to fit you alone.'

Four simple steps to turn around your unbearable yoke and transform it into a goldmine:

#1. Embrace God’s gracious will every moment of your life.
#2. Enjoy the Presence of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Present Moment.
#3. Learn to offer continuously a Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving.
#4. Learn the power of Sweet Surrender.

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." (Revelation 3: 20).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

God reveals His ways to Moses.

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike." (Matthew 11: 25).

Wednesday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. Who are the childlike that Jesus speaks about in our Scripture verse for today? What has the Father revealed to them?

"I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." (Exodus 3: 6). God reveals to Moses in the burning bush. Then we read from Psalm 103: "He has made known His ways to Moses."

The childlike therefore are people like Moses, David, Elijah, Mary, Paul, Mother Teresa, Sister Angelica whom God makes known His inner life and His ways. God who does not ration His Holy Spirit is pleased to make the same revelation to any of His children.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, July 15, 2019

Who do you turn to in your needs?

"Turn to the Lord in your needs, and you will live." (Responsorial Psalm 69).

Tuesday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This feast started in England in 1251 with the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St Simon Stock, the Superior General of the Carmelite Order. It did not become a universal feast till 1726. Catholics still wear the blessed Scapula everywhere to honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

"Turn to the Lord in your needs, and you will live" exhorts our Scripture pick for today. If you are needy in any way, you will not fail to be struck by this word of God. Why does the Eternal Father counsel us to turn to Him in our needs in order to live? Two important reasons occur to me:

#1 "Man's extremity is God's opportunity. Man's prosperity is Satan's opportunity."

#2 Turning to God in prayer, worship, praise and thanksgiving is God's ordained means of receiving His favors and blessings.

Psalm 69 continues:

"This is my prayer to you, my prayer for your favor. In your great love, answer me, O God, with your help that never fails.

"As for me in my poverty and pain let your help, O God, lift me up. I will praise God’s name with a song; I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

"The poor when they see it will be glad and God-seeking hearts will revive; for the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains. (Responsorial Psalm: 69:14, 30-31,33-34).

I thank You Father that You drew me out when I was sunk in the abysmal swamp where there is no foothold. I cried for help through this Psalm and You saved me.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, July 14, 2019

What to do when a new sheriff is in town.

"Then a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, rose to power in Egypt." (Exodus 1: 8).

Monday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bonaventure, Franciscan, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. When you meet the new atheists who no longer believe in God because they have advanced degrees in science, you may ask them: Are you more learned or educated than St Bonaventure, St Thomas Aquinas, St Albert the Great or St Augustine. God continues to bless the Church with great scientists who have blessed the world. Our saint of today, Bonaventure is one of them.

What do you make of our key Scripture? "Then a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, rose to power in Egypt." (Exodus 1: 8). When a new sheriff comes to town, a new king comes to the throne, what do the little folk do? God shakes up history through one man.

"Accordingly, they set supervisors over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. ...... Pharaoh then commanded all his people, “Throw into the Nile every boy that is born, but you may let all the girls live.” (Exodus 1: 11, 22).

The Israelites suffered "the whole cruel fate of slaves." This suffering prepared them to cooperate for the historic event of the Exodus.

God did not abandon Israel to the cruel power of their oppressors. The Exodus is seared in the memory of the Israelites.
"If the Lord had not been on our side,’ this is Israel’s song.
‘If the Lord had not been on our side when men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive when their anger was kindled." (Psalm 124: 1 - 3).

Remember: When a new sheriff comes to town, cry out to God for protection. God hears always the cry of the poor. The Lord our God Almighty is King. Not Pharaoh. Not Caesar.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Our neighbor is every person in need.

“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10: 25).

Sunday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. A scholar of the law tests Jesus with a tricky question. 'You are a scholar. Tell us what you think.' Our Master and Teacher asks the scholar.

 “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10: 27). The scholar answered correctly. Note carefully what Jesus said to him: "Do this and you will live." St James amplifies in his letter:  "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Jesus ends what we call the Parable of the Good Samaritan by saying to the scholar of the law: Go and do as the Good Samaritan. Every person in need is our neighbor.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, July 12, 2019

Let us be your slaves.

"Let us be your slaves!" (Genesis 50: 18).

Saturday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. Our key Scripture today is the voice of guilty conscience. The brothers of Joseph terrified of what Joseph might do to them after their father Jacob had died cried out: "Let us be your slaves!"

"But Joseph replied to them: “Do not fear. Can I take the place of God?  Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people." (Genesis 50: 19 - 20).

Recall the post Resurrection appearances of Jesus to His disciples who abandoned Him during His passion. Jesus called them "My brothers." And later, He would explain to them as Joseph did here the meaning of His gruesome passion and death:

“Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?.......
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”........
“Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24: 38 - 48).

St Paul gives us the full understanding of the radical Providence of God in Romans 8: 28 - 30:

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified."

Do not be afraid. I am Joseph your brother. (Cf Genesis 45: 4).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, July 11, 2019

What does it mean that God is a Father who keeps His promises?

"Israel said to Joseph, “At last I can die, now that I have seen for myself that you are still alive.” (Genesis 46: 30).

Friday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. How do you grow in your faith? How do you grow in faith that God is a Father who keeps His promises?

As you read the word of God, note and mark the verses and passages that celebrate God's faithfulness to His promises. In our key Scripture for today, when Israel (Jacob) saw his son Joseph face to face, he celebrated God's faithfulness. God promised Simeon that he would not die until he sees Jesus. When Simeon carried Jesus in his arms, he said:
"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace." (Luke 2: 29).

As you start storing the truth of God's faithfulness in your mind, the power of the word of God starts affecting the way you think and act. "His words are spirit and life; they effect what they mean as does any divine word," says  Blessed Charles de Foucauld.

God kept all His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Israel, David, Mary, Simeon, etc. God is a Father who keeps His promises. Trust Him.

"The word of the Lord remains for ever: What is this word?
It is the Good News that has been brought to you." (1 Peter 1: 25).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

You planned evil against me. God worked it around for the good of many.

“I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  But now do not be distressed, and do not be angry with yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you." (Genesis 45: 4 - 5).

Thursday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Benedict, Abbot (480 - 547). Educated in Rome, St Benedict chose solitary life. Then he organized a group of men into monastic life. He founded monasteries in Europe. He is pivotal in the development of European Christian culture. No wonder he is the patron saint of Europe.

Our key Scripture today from Genesis 44/45 is important in understanding the doctrine of Divine Providence. Divine Providence is one of the sweetest revelations in Sacred Scripture. This is how the Church states the doctrine:

"Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end.

"Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf.Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you" (I Pt 5:7; cf. Ps55:23). [CCC 321 & 322]

Joseph, the Prince of Egypt who is one of the most recognizable types of Jesus in the Scriptures says to his brothers who sold him into slavery: God permitted you to sell me into slavery in order to save lives and further His purposes in world history. God is doing similar things today. Nobody can thwart the will of God. Do not be afraid.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

When life is protected, the Kingdom of God is at hand.

"Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10: 6 - 7).

Wednesday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. Jesus had a magnificent obsession with the Kingdom of God. Jesus wants you and me to develop such an obsession. Various opposing but not contradictory statements describe the Kingdom:

#1 It is here and now and there and then.
#2 The Kingdom is immanent and transcendent.
#3 It is visible and invisible.

One thing that is absolutely clear and certain is that everyone is expected to be involved in bringing about the dawn of the Kingdom. How?

"When the hungry are fed, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When the cry of the poor is heard, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When life is protected, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When the sick is healed, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When truth is told, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When immigrants are defended, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When offenses are forgiven, kingdom of God is at hand." (Inspired from LIVING FAITH).

Every single thought, every single word and every action either contributes to the coming of the Kingdom of God or the delay of it. The Kingdom of God comes through your thought, word and deed.

"The kingdom of God is close at hand: repent and believe the Good News." (Mark 1: 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, July 08, 2019

Look at the harvest! Where are the workers?

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Matthew 9: 37 - 38).

Tuesday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. The Vineyard of the Lord is one place where there is no unemployment. Jesus said to the man searching for work at 4 pm: "You too, go to my Vineyard and you will find work."

The world has never been in such a dire need of the message of salvation as at the present moment. We see despair everywhere like the crowd in today's Gospel. Jesus says: "The truth will make you free." Where is the messenger to proclaim the truth that gives freedom and victory from hopelessness that we see everywhere?

"You too, go to my Vineyard and work and I will pay you a fair wage." At the end of the work day, Jesus paid the man who worked only for one hour the same as everyone.

Is the Lord calling you to join His workforce? What are you waiting for? What are your excuses?
"You too, go to my Vineyard. I will pay you a fair wage."

"May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind, so that we can see what hope his call holds for us." (Ephesians 1: 17, 18).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, July 07, 2019

If God will be with me and protect me in this journey, He will be my God.

"In you and your descendants all the families of the earth will find blessing.  I am with you and will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you." (Genesis 28: 14 - 15).

Monday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. Our Daily Bible Verse is from Genesis 28. God chose Jacob instead of Esau to carry forward the Covenant and promises made to Abraham. We shall see that Jacob with developed commercial instincts is a worthy heir of Abraham. Listen to his answer to God:

“If God will be with me and protect me on this journey I am making and give me food to eat and clothes to wear,  and I come back safely to my father’s house, the Lord will be my God. This stone that I have set up as a sacred pillar will be the house of God. Of everything you give me, I will return a tenth part to you without fail.” (Genesis 28: 20 - 22).

How will God respond to this counter offer?

Our God is a Father who keeps His promises. Nothing is too marvelous for Him to do for those who love Him. God Never Fails.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, July 06, 2019

I shall find my comfort in Jerusalem.

"In Jerusalem you shall find your comfort." (Isaiah 66: 13).

Sunday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. The word to live by comes from Isaiah 66: 10 - 14).

The Lord God promises peace and prosperity and overflowing good fortune to Jerusalem after her period of chastisement. Jerusalem here is a type of the Church. We are urged to find our comfort in the Church and much more:
"Rejoice with her in her joy,
all you who mourn over her—
So that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast;
That you may drink with delight at her abundant breasts!" (Isaiah 66: 10 - 11).

What is this consoling breast, this abundant breast? Just think of the Church for a moment. What does the Church offer to the world? The Church offers to the world:

#1. The word of God.
#2. The 7 Sacraments.
#3. Light and wisdom through her authoritative teachings.

Everybody without exception is invited to "nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast;
and drink with delight at her abundant breasts!"

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed the man who seeks refuge in him." (Psalm 33: 9).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, July 05, 2019

The Choice and the Call of God is a mystery.

“Although the voice is Jacob’s, the hands are Esau’s.” (Genesis 27: 22).

Saturday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Maria Goretti (1890 - 1902), Virgin and Martyr. Maria died at the age of 12 defending her chastity. She witnessed to the power of Jesus Christ working in the little Ones. In her liturgy, the Church teaches us that God is the source of innocence and lover of chastity.

Our key Scripture is from Genesis 27: 1 - 29). We explore the mystery of the Call, the Choice and the Anointing. Why does God call Jacob instead of Esau, David instead of one of his brothers, Judas instead of Benjamin, Israel instead of Egypt? This is a great mystery.

"For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his treasured possession." (Psalm 135: 4).

God’s choice comes with blessings:

"May God give to you of the dew of the heavens and of the fertility of the earth abundance of grain and wine." (Genesis 27: 28).

Through the great mystery and gift of Baptism, we are all called, chosen and anointed as priest, prince and prophet.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, July 04, 2019

I desire mercy and not sacrifice.

 “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9: 11).

Friday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time is the First Friday of July and the feast of St Anthony Mary Zaccaria (1502 to 1539), Priest.

The Pharisees could not hide their disdain of Jesus for mingling with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God will be like the net of a fisherman collecting both good and bad fish. Do you find this image of the Church disgusting? What type of Church do you secretly desire in your heart?

“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.  Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 12 - 13).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday, July 5th.

July 5, 2018 First Friday in July 2019.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 7th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #7.

#7.  "Tepid souls shall become fervent."

What is tepid?  Tepid is defined as lukewarm, slightly warm, unenthusiastic, apathetic, half-hearted.
Listen to what Jesus says about such persons:
"Because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  (Revelation 3: 16).

Are you lukewarm with regards to Jesus, to spiritual things? Regain your fire through devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Father Richard Morrow of the Cathedral of Christ the King died a couple of weeks ago at the age of 90. For most of his 62 years as a priest, he was devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and honored the Sacred Heart every First Friday.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

God put Abraham to test.

"God put Abraham to the test and said to him: Abraham! “Here I am!” he replied.  Then God said: Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you." (Genesis 22: 1 - 2).

Thursday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time is the Independence Anniversary of the United States of America.

As God guides creation in wisdom and goodness towards the fulfillment of its destiny in Christ Jesus, so is the Lord guiding America towards the fulfillment of its destiny. Therefore we pray:
"Father of the family of man, open our hearts to greater love of your Son. Let national boundaries not set limits to our concern. Ward off the pride that comes with worldly wealth and power. Give us the courage to open ourselves in love to the service of all Your people. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son." (Collect Independence Day Mass."

God put Abraham to test to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. Consider if God asks you to sacrifice your health, family, finances, job, possessions, country. How would you respond? This is how God responded to Abraham's obedience:

“I swear by my very self—oracle of the Lord—that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one,  I will bless you and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants will take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing, because you obeyed my command.” (Genesis 22: 16 - 18).

Faith and obedience are always rewarded in the Bible.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

To believe and trust is human.

"DO not be unbelieving, but believe.” (John 20: 27).

Wednesday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Thomas the Apostle. Remember Thomas, the one who is nicknamed the Doubter? "I will not believe until I see. Until I touch." His feast day gives us the opportunity to reflect on why his unbelief was sharply rebuked by Jesus:
"STOP doubting and believe.” (John 20: 27 NIV).

Trust and belief comes naturally to most of us and we exercise this human trait continually every day.
We trust that our doctor knows what he is doing. We trust the pharmacist that the medication is not poison. We trust that the traffic light is programmed correctly. Husband and wife demonstrate trust of each other several times a day.

God created us to be trusting. Society can not function without the exercise of trust. But trust relies on one critical and often unspoken factor: Credible Witness. Thomas the Doubter was rebuked by Jesus because he doubted the credible witnesses (11 Apostles, Mary Magdalene, etc) who told him with certainty that Christ Jesus had risen and appeared to them.

I have never seen Jesus in the flesh. But I see and touch His Church every day. I believe because I believe in the 2000 years unbroken witness of the Church. Anywhere I am in this world, the Church is there for me to see and touch.

If you are one of those waiting for the mountain to come to you before you believe, Jesus says to you NOW: "Stop doubting and believe.”

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, July 01, 2019

How to overcome acute fears.

“Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm." (Matthew 8: 25 - 26)

Tuesday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time. Our good news for today answers the question: how do we overcome acute fears?

Which of us has not experienced paralyzing fear in the area of health, family, finances, job, possessions, etc? In the Gospel of today, Jesus Christ puts His finger on the reason why fear masters our hearts: "O you of little faith?” Or No faith. The whole theme of the Sacred Scriptures is the story of how humble men and women came to trust in the word of God and grew to be giants and were able to overcome obstacles and nations through the power of faith.

The Bible asks the question:
"Who is it that overcomes the world?" (1 John 5: 5). And gives the answer:
"Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (ibid).

Now that we know this truth, we shall be greatly blessed if we pray thus: "Lord Jesus increase my little faith."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Why did God single out Abraham?

"I have singled him [Abraham] out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord may put into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him." (Genesis 18: 19).

Monday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time. In our key Scripture for today, the Lord declared that He has singled out Abraham for blessings. What type of blessings?

#1 Father of a multitude of nations.
#2 Our exemplar of faith.
#3 Our intercessor and teacher of Intercessory prayer.

Before God chose Abraham, His eyes combed the whole world looking for a man of faith. God found that rock in Abraham. He believed a promise too good to be true. God liked what He heard and saw in Abraham.

You too can learn from Abraham's faith. You too have the word of God and His promises. You too has the choice today to believe or not to believe the promises of God. What is your inclination?

The Responsorial Psalm for today is one the Church uses constantly throughout the liturgical year because Psalm 103 speaks of promises the Lord has fulfilled for each of us.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

"He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion.

"Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
 slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever.

"Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him." (Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 10-11).

Do you believe that the Lord is kind and merciful? Do you believe that God is faithful to His promises?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com